I started Saturday morning with another trip to Memorial. I told the kids we were to leave at 9 but they weren’t ready, African time. I was taking Nurdin and Abdul, to buy them some football boots (they are the only boys playing football not to have some), Saidi to buy him some football boots and rain boots, Eliza to get her some school shoes and a backpack and Vumi to help me. I gave Vumi some money and asked her to sort Saidi out, I still had money left from his sponsor for him.
It was difficult to get the boys some shoes. One guy really pissed me off by trying to charge me 35,000 for them. It made me angry as the shoes obviously aren’t for me and it’s not fair on the boys. After some searching and some good negotiating I got Nurdin some good Adidas boots for 12,000. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any good boots for the right price for Abdul. I got Eliza some school shoes for 8,000 and a good bag for 11,000ts. The shoes were tricky as you had to really check them for quality, as normal for shoes at Memorial and to ensure they are not just dyed shoes rather than leather!
I got two t-shirts (North Face and Abercrombie and Fitch) for 5,000 (£2) as I left with the girls. We stopped at the fruit market and the stationery shop to get Eliza some stuff. We were running a little late as we were suppose to be leaving for Pares, Godfrey and Nakundeli’s graduation at 12. Vumi, Hassan, Dula and Witness were joining myself and the Swedes. We didn’t leave until 12:30, which I was slightly concerned about. However I shouldn’t have worried, the guest of honor didn’t arrive until 1:45! As soon as Kenny, myself and 5 Swedish girls showed up, we were asked to sit right at the front. While we waited some of the girls who were graduating got up and started to dance. Nothing planned but in wonder synchronisation. One person wanted to change the move they were doing, so they nudge the others, show them once and they would all synchronise again.
The ceremony was interesting. It started in African style, with the kids who were graduation high school dancing in. They then continued to dance at the front. Two girls then rapped/sang a song, whilst it was being played with lyrics in the background and then one of the male students did a short speech. Pares then asked if she could borrow my camera, she gave it to one of the other guys and he went outside… Before Dula had been taking lots of videos of the floor instead of the dancers… But I’ve learn’t hear to just let it go. They have so much fun taking pictures and it doesn’t harm me.
The next thing that happened was one of the strangest things I’ve seen whilst being here. A cake was brought to the front in a small dancing procession. People would come to the front, pay 500-2000ts and say a person/s name. The person whose name was called out would then be fed the cake by the person who paid… This went on for quite some time. Dula even borrowed money from Witness to feed cake to me and Godfrey. The cake ceremony/auction finished by the international guests, us, being asked to come to the front and be fed cake. I was more than happy to have another bit.
The guest of honor then did a very long sermon/preach. She realised we didn’t speak any Swahili and would every now and again drop some English in. She spoke with such fire and power. At times shouting into the microphone. If I hadn’t had been at a graduation, I could have believed she was doing a speech to troops before they went into battle. She would also say “hellooo” to the crowd and ask for an Amen (pronounced Aimen). It was very hot in the room, which was a few class rooms opened up, and we were all glad when the long sermon finished. There was food served but we were going out later so we said goodbye to the kids and left.
The whole ceremony summed up what I think is a western view on Tanzania. If it makes sense then it doesn’t happen. If you can laugh it off and just accept it then I think you have a much better time here. Such as the ceremony starting 2 hours late. No graduation in the west would start that late, but here nobody seemed to even blink at the idea.
After relaxing at the house for a while I nipped over to SWISCO before we went out. We went to Indioitaliano, which I’d heard very mixed reviews about. I ordered a curry and was the best that I have had in Tanzania. I called Omario and 6 of us piled into the car. I was glad that I sat in the front as the 5 Swedes were rather cozy in the back. We had a drink at Pamela’s bar before going home. Typically they had no 1,000 or 500 notes. Which is very strange when beer is your main sleep and is priced at 2,000 – the notes are 5,000 or 10,000 so you’d always need change of 1,000 when buying a beer….
It was a really nice night, if a little sad to know it would be my last night out in Tanzania.